Today is World Oceans Day, an occasion to reflect on how we can help to restore and protect these life-giving bodies of water that impact all life on Earth.

On May 24, students at Citizens of the World Charter School in Mar Vista joined some 4,500 area students at Dockweiler Beach in Playa del Rey for the 25th annual Kids Ocean Day beach cleanup.

Citizens of the World fifth-grader Emmett Kliger won the event’s annual poetry contest and read aloud during the event:

“Roses are red, oceans are blue, but that can’t happen without the help of you.

“The ocean has trash, but that can be fixed. We really should be mindful of it.

“When all is said and done, the fight to clean trash has just begun.”

Emmett’s mother Sydnie said the Kids Ocean Day contest has given her son a new outlook on citizen activism.

“He jumped into something that was very new to him, and now he’s found a real passion to make a difference in the world,” she said. “I think his generation is walking into a world where they see that it’s not perfect, and they realize that for their future in order to make it better they have to jump in.”

Since 1993, the Malibu Foundation has coordinated Kids Ocean Day in the Los Angeles region by organizing the beach cleanup and giving presentations at area schools.

After the cleanup students stood in formation in the shape of a huge wave, photographed by helicopter to send a visual message of concern about the ocean.

“Young people are the wave of the future. And this program is teaching us that the ocean has limits, and we need to protect those limits,” said California Coastal Commission Vice Chair Effie Turnbull-Sanders.

— Gary Walker